The Great Commission in Matthew’s gospel commands all believers of Christ to do four things: to go, to make disciples, to baptize and to teach all He commanded. This commission is not given to just adults, but to all believers of Jesus Christ. For too long the church has relegated the Great Commission to mean adults. We have missed an entire generation who Christ commanded to do the same four things He commanded the disciples and every believer to carry out. For too long the leadership in the church have told the next generation, preschool through college, to wait until they are older to serve the Lord.
There are four questions that need to be answered about the Great Commission in order to achieve what Christ commanded of His followers: 1) Where are we to go? 2) How do we make disciples? 3) Who do we baptize? 4) What did He command of us? The best place to find the answers to these questions is God’s Word the Bible.
Where are we to go?
The Great Commission literally says as you are going. Everywhere a believer in Jesus Christ goes they are to tell others about Him. Acts 1:8 says, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (NASB). We are to be His witnesses in our local community, in our state, in our nation and all the world.
How do we make disciples?
In the book Building a Discipling Culture Mike Breen says the following, “If you want to make disciples, if you want to build a discipling culture in your community, you are going to need three things: 1) A discipleship vehicle (we call it a huddle), 2) People need access to your life (discipleship can’t be done at a distance), 3) A discipling language (our discipleship language is called LifeShapes)” (chapter 4). At our church we use Life Transformation Groups (LTG’s). An LTG is a group of three or four people of the same sex, who meet weekly, read 20-25 chapters of Scripture a week, hold each other accountable and pray for lost friends daily. This is one way we are making disciples at AMBC.
Who do we baptize?
We baptize those who have surrendered to Jesus Christ unto salvation. Throughout the Scriptures baptism always follows repentance and surrender to Christ. We do not baptize infants because they are not able to make a conscious decision to repent of sin and turn to Christ.
What did He command of us?
There are many commands of Christ throughout the Scriptures. The Great Commandment is to love our neighbor as our selves. “’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39, NASB).
All ages in the church who claim to be Christians should be expected to carry out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Our role as leaders in the church is to provide opportunities for every Christian to live what Christ has commanded. We need to guide our churches to be more focused on those in our community and the world than those inside our churches.
Guest Post – Bruce C. Glisson, Executive Pastor, Allen Memorial Baptist Church, Salisbury, Maryland